Local, state and federal government documents are the basis of much of everyday life.  Whether you are looking for tax forms, patent applications, court rules for filing a lawsuit, or appellate briefs, government documents will be involved. The Federal and California state governments, to ensure the availability of free access to government documents, started depository library programs and free distribution of government documents to libraries designated as depository libraries in 1813 and 1945, respectively. The LA Law Library is a selective depository of both state and Federal documents.

Depository status has allowed the LA Law Library to obtain and develop an extensive print collection of federal primary materials such as the U. S. Code (1925 - current), the U. S. Statutes at Large (1789 - current), the Code of Federal Regulations (1938 - current), the U. S. Serial Set (1964 - current), Congressional Hearings and Reports and California documents such as California Senate and Assembly Histories and Journals and consumer oriented publications,  as dictated by federal and state laws governing the depository programs. For more information, please visit:

All depository and non-depository  Federal , California and local government documents,  selected for addition to the LA Library’s collection,  are searchable in the LA Law Library catalog. Federal  depository documents  not added to the collection are listed elsewhere on the library’s website.  All documents are available to the public for inspection during the library’s normal hours of operation. 

1 - Select Websites for Locating US Federal Government Documents

Free and searchable access to official publications of the three branches of the U. S. Government, including:

This website will eventually replace the Federal Digital System (FDsys) website. It, too, is a free public website capturing documents from the three branches of the fedeal government. Being in beta means this site is a work in progress that we are sharing with you to get your feedback. Learn about the new site and what's available. Even in beta mode, it incorporates research links to outside websites such as Congress.gov.

Library of Congress:
The Nation’s library has an outstanding website with links to Congressional resources, the U. S. Copyright Office and the digitized collections of America’s historic documents.

A product of the Catalog of U. S. Government Publications that searches multiple U. S. federal government databases and provides direct links to selected online resources.

U.S. Congress:
Federal legislation from the 93rd Congress, 1973-74, to the current Congressional session, the Congressional Record from 1995-present, the U. S. Code as published by the Office of Law Revision Counsel from the 1994 Edition with supplements, and biographical information on all Members of Congress.

U.S. Courts:
The official directory of the U. S. Judiciary serves as a gateway to finding a court’s information, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Bankruptcy, Evidence, Criminal Procedure and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and related forms, a biographical directory of judges, court records and educational resources.

The official federal government portal to finding information about governing agencies by topic or agency name. The website includes contact information for federal and state agencies.

2 - Select Websites for Locating California Government Documents

California Courts:
The California Courts official website provides information on all the Courts in California. Some current and archived California Supreme Court and Court of Appeals court opinions, fillable Judicial Council forms, the California Rules of Court and CACI and CalCrim jury instructions.

California State Legislature:
Browse or search all California Codes or do a quick search of pending California bills by bill number or an advanced search on bills from 1999-2000 to the present (http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billSearchClient.xhtml), To do a quick search of California laws, click here. California Assembly Archival information is available at http://clerk.assembly.ca.gov/archive-list - Assembly Journals are available from 1849 – 2009, Senate Histories and Indexes are from 1881 -2009, and Statutes are available from 1850 - 2008.

California State Government:
Information about the Governor, all state agencies and their regulations, license and licensee verification, workplace laws, resources for people with disabilities, continuing education resources and online services such as calculating child support, applying for CalFresh benefits or financial aid for education, and more.

California State Library:
The State Library’s website provides access to official state information about agency programs, environmental impact reports, statistical compilations, the library’s historic collection catalogs, genealogical resources and more.

California State Agency Databases
An annotated list of databases related to the State's Executive, Judicial and Legislative branches, independent agencies, elected officials, state Universities, Census data, and other online services. Produced by the state of California, but the listing;'s are housed on an American Library Association wiki.

3 - Select Websites for Locating Municipal Government Documents

Los Angeles City Government:
The City’s official website provides City Council files, a directory of all City agencies, forms categorized for businesses, consumers and visitors, and the Los Angeles City Charter, Rules, Municipal and Administrative codes

Los Angeles County Government:
A guide to information on the County Supervisors, County agencies rules and regulations plus links to the County’s wide variety of online information services which include property tax assessment services, fictitious business name searches, an uncashed check inquiry, an inmate locator, and Section 8 housing lists.

4 - Select Websites for Finding General Government Documents and Information

Findlaw for the legal professional lets you research the law or browse through primary materials of U.S. and state governments.

Legal Information Institute:
Cornell Law School’s research website for extensive explanations of the law by subject and access to official documents such as the US Code. CFR and state laws.

American Law Sources On-line:
Guide to freely accessible sources of U. S. and state law online.

Free case law access for state and federal courts; coverage dates vary by Court; U. S. Supreme Court cases are available from 1759.

Nolo Press:
Major publisher of legal how-to books provides information on the law by topic or state with links to federal and state law resources. The full text of their publications is available on the LA Law Library website.

Google Scholar:
Google access to digitized versions of cases and academic articles. Case coverage includes US state and appellate cases since 1950, U. S. federal cases since 1923 and U. S. Supreme Court cases since 1791.

Public Library of Law (PLOL)
One of the world’s largest free law libraries including cases, laws, and regulations from the creators of Fastcase.

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The LA Law Library is a selective government depository for both the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) and State of California materials.

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